- NASA Launches a New Rover and a Helicopter for Mars Mission
- For the First Time, NASA Would Test a Flying Vehicle Inside the Martian Atmosphere
NASA Launches: Hello again, Mars.
After NASA’s highly successful Spirit and Opportunity rovers, it is now ready to build on its breakthrough achievements by sending new machines to Mars.
The space agency has launched a new rover whose mission is to search for past microbial life in the Red Planet. It also aims to study Mars’ atmospheric and geological makeup.
But this time, NASA would not only send a rover but an advanced helicopter that would accompany its brother rover.
These two machines are set to land its metallic bodies on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021
Heartwarming Names for Highly Advanced Machines
But before launching these machines, there is one more detail that the space agency wants to deal with: How would people call them?
NASA knows that their mission would not resonate to the people by calling these machines with cold technical terms. Would anyone dare to love a name like LDF0947-YTE-7430-PGSW-PRYT?
With this dilemma, NASA has launched a nationwide contest where kids from kindergarten through 12th-grade can submit names for the two machines.
The winning names for these advanced machines both came from seventh-graders.
Alex Mather of Virginia christened NASA’s rover as “Perseverance”, while Vaneeza Rupani of Alabama named its chopper twin as “Ingenuity”.
These names would follow the footsteps of the past rovers whose names encapsulate humans’ most beautiful qualities.
Curiosity, Insight, Spirit, and Opportunity, are past rovers that didn’t just carry out successful missions and experiments on Mars.
They also carried with them the special qualities of being a human being, and NASA’s newest rovers would continue their legacy.
A Closer Look at ‘Perseverance Rover’
Perseverance is a giant leap from its predecessor rovers because it is specifically built to autonomously travel on a much wider ground.
As a result, it can explore the Martian land even better and gather more data than any past rovers.
It is equipped with advanced sensors to accomplish its mission of looking for ancient microbial life on the Red Planet. It is also designed to further study Mars’ atmospheric and geological makeup.
NASA has also equipped it with 19 advanced cameras to provide the world with the best view of the Martian planes yet.
The Perseverance rover would also collect Martian soil samples that would be retrieved and be sent back to Earth by a future rover mission.
And Also, Not To Be Left Behind, The ‘Ingenuity Chopper’
Ingenuity is the first-ever vehicle of NASA that would fly right inside the Martian atmosphere.
But Ingenuity’s main purpose is to test the capabilities of a flying vehicle inside the harsh atmosphere of Mars.
This test flight would educate the space agency on how to build a better and more advanced flying vehicle for its future Mars missions.
Ingenuity is equipped with carbon-fibre blades that spin much faster than passenger helicopters. It also has solar panels and batteries just like his brother rover.
The Martian atmosphere is a real challenge for a flying vehicle because it is 99% less dense than Earth’s.
Also, the Jezero Crater where Perseverance would land is an intensely cold area on Mars.
It gets even colder every time evening arrives on the planet, which poses severe challenges for a flying vehicle.
That’s why a Martian flying vehicle must be very light, must have bigger and faster rotors and can withstand extreme coldness.
These are the features equipped inside Ingenuity, and NASA has yet to know if it can overcome the challenges of the Martian atmosphere.
Getting Ready For The First Man in Mars
As with any other Martian missions, this new mission is part of NASA’s grand plan to execute a manned mission to Mars in the future.
This could be the most complex feat that humanity has dared to accomplish so far.
But every Martian mission makes this impossible dream closer to reality as NASA (and the world) learns more about the Red Planet.
Now, everybody is bracing themselves on what discoveries that Perseverance and Ingenuity would unveil soon about Mars.